Eastbound service. Going on 5 hours late. Tom is picking his teeth with a baggage tag and I’m filling the water tanks on the battery pack for a baggage tractor that I hate with an ungodly passion despite no actual fault of its own.

Tom makes a phone call and informs me that it’s going to be Carl and…Scott (? I know Scott is the name of one of the part time CSRs in Indy so I may be extrapolating a bit there…and I don’t always listen when Tom talks? Especially about things I don’t want to hear? Oops?) will be running the service tonight.

Tom’s exact words: “No Paula.” I’m pretty sure he’s enjoying that on multiple levels  as he doesn’t seem to like Paula much at all himself…and I do…to the point that I’m forever trying to run away from him at every given opportunity to “help Paula”…which is code for being endlessly entertained by her company policy recitation/suicidal and homicidal commentary/unintentional hilarity. I’m still disgruntled that he made me play baggage monkey/actually do my job instead of letting me play with Paula last night. Adding extra cars apparently became a thing while I was away and they’re running sold out so my favorite AC has been super busy/absolutely swarmed every time I’ve even caught a glimps of her the past few nights.

4:35am. About an hour post-scheduled arrival time, approx. 4 hours until the service actually arrives. I should have plugged the tractor in BEFORE I watered the batteries. What a night, yearning for electrocution.

I got to play with Carl a bit last night…which is its own kind of valuable amusement…(and I’m actually terrified of the idea of HIM taking a day off because we depend on him so much, omg, if the stand-in wasn’t as reliable everything would be tragic…he actually did once already in my short time here, but it was before I knew enough to be afraid? lol ) – potentially more about that eventually – but the point is, Paula isn’t working tonight…which means she isn’t working tomorrow either…and I haven’t even had the chance to say hello to her since I got back from class. Carl better have given her her popcorn or I’ll kick his ass. He told me the engineer said thank you (and awkwardly thanked me 3 times himself? lol), which I appreciate…but I still don’t know the poor guy’s name? #fail

They put on 2 private cars here last night which all of the “foamers” (I’ll never be over that) think is the greatest thing ever…but I could do without. I know it’s a great money maker for the company, but it’s also a colossal waste of time. I did get to see Carl carry around a huge hammer and look at his watch dramatically, though. As far as entertainment goes around here, sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Anyway, “no Paula” has surprisingly, even to me, translated into my being so depressed I can barely function. I don’t know why. I’m a big fan of my regular T&E crew (I wouldn’t drag Garrett’s popcorn from Chicago through Cleveland to Cincinnati for just anyone…and I’m still laughing at Carl’s “You shouldn’t have”…because even though it was just a very small gesture of appreciation in the hopes that he and the others will be forgiving as I inevitably continue to fuck up I’m pretty sure he actually wished I hadn’t for a little while there because it was super awkward, yet somehow endeared him to me even more after the fact?) but if girl needs a few days off, God knows I want her to have them. I’m never sure how much of the things about Paula that amuse me should actually be concerning anyway…let her have her mental health days or whatever. Part of me hopes it was a last minute decision…she looked at the service status, saw the fuckery going on in Chicago (engine trouble at the origin, dear lord), knew what tonight was going to be like and was all “NOPE.” I would be very proud of her if that was the case. Still disappointed, but somehow proud nonetheless. That’s practically the company motto.

Also, the district manager was in Cincinnati while I was in Chicago (he was ALSO in Chicago while I was in Chicago…but more about THAT when I actually get around to really writing about Jen…whom I love like 1000x more than Carl and Paula combined [that’s not a slight to the T&E crowd, just a comparison] and is the greatest ally anyone could ever ask for in the company hunger games) and he did a “mini-audit(? it’s either an audit or it’s not?) and left me a “Great job!” note in my cash bag because I can count to 100. Yay.

Jen told me I looked “super cute” today.

I literally cannot remember the last time a passing compliment lifted my spirits so much.

I’m in Chicago. Today was the last day of my first week of classes. I’m the only girl in the class. I was somewhat disgruntled by this at first, but the guys are pretty cool. Two of them (Thomas & Andrew) are young guys and brand new to the company. They’re both from Milwaukee. The other 2 gentlemen (both of them named John) have been with the company for years but are new to the “craft.”

The instructor, Jen (never Jenny unless we’re mocking her good naturedly re: the fact she told us she hates to be called that), is nothing short of a God send. She has the patience of a saint and is endlessly positive/upbeat. She does her very best to make even the most boring material as entertaining as possible. Most importantly, she’s just a great teacher - receptive and responsive - I can’t imagine a better environment or dynamic for learning what I need to learn here. I’m endlessly grateful to have been given the opportunity to take part in this class. I’m already planning an end-of-classes gift for Jen, a thank you card to Dave for getting me enrolled and taking better care of me than Marty has Thomas & Andrew, and some kind of letter to Jen’s supervisor (whoever that is? I need to look into that…) detailing how important her work is and how good she is at it. I may be getting a bit ahead of myself, but it’s important to have these things in the works.

Aside from being an amazing instructor Jen just seems to be a great all around person. All week she’s been telling those of us less familiar with the Chicago area about the best places to eat/shop/what have you. She lets us out on our lunch break at 11:30 so that we can beat the lunch crowd…and then she never fails to ask about where we went and what we had when we return. On our “long days” we get out of class at 3:30. Each morning she asks about what we did the night before. She’s just caring and personable and I just genuinely feel better about everything knowing there are people like her about in the company even if they’re not so close to home. She gave us like 3 different contact methods on the first day of class and has gone further above and beyond about being available to us than I ever would have thought possible. Like, this morning I asked her if there was a “real” grocery store nearby because I’m struggling to live out of CVS/Walgreens and unlike most of the others I’ll be here for the weekends, too, since home is so far away…and she told me a few options, specifically one preferred one…and then she goes “Oh, and if you buy too much to carry call me and I’ll come pick you up.” Oh, God. What a sweetheart she is. I almost don’t know what to do with her. Like, mostly I just wanted to not be terrified of the instructor and I adore her. As I was on my way out today she was all “Have a nice weekend! Call me if you need anything!” And, like, I know I wouldn’t unless I really managed to get myself into a real mess, but just that offer means so much. Knowing I’ve got someone to reach out to if I need to makes all of the scary things a lot less scary. Bless her, truly. In the short time I’ve known her she’s already set a standard both professionally and personally that I imagine myself striving towards for years to come.

The Westbound service is behaving like the Eastbound service tonight, arrival time wise (Eastbound service is scheduled in at 3:17am, Westbound service at 1:13am - today’s ETA for the Westbound service is 3:44am). I checked the app a few times throughout the day as I tend to do to see how the service is running…and I felt all hope for an uneventful night slip away as it became later and later. At one point, while getting dressed for work, I made an obnoxious idle threat about stapling Richmond transfer tickets all over Carl’s face if his crew outlaws in our station (and mom said to call her if I intended to do so because that’s something she’d like to see. She’s never even met Carl, by the way.) We’re nowhere near the point where we need to be worrying about crews outlawing but I’m entertained by the idea of decorating Carl with baggage tags like some kind of human Christmas tree I tend to exaggerate/rely on hyperbole just a bit. Who knew? Upon arrival at work I found out that the lateness of tonight’s service is due to storm damage/downed trees in West Virgina. It’s not even Carl’s fault. But of course it’s not. Carl gets shit done. I apologize about your face, Carl, and my odd desire to affix baggage tags there about.

I have to pee but I don’t want to get up. Tom just got out a pillow. Cincinnati is giving up tonight. Wake us when you get here, Carl.

…and then I got asked to check a 71.2 pound bag to Reno. Nope. Lifting that bitch onto the scale was quite the wake-up call.

At least the customer was really nice. Tom was all “We can’t check anything over 50 pounds…and we’re really not supposed to let you carry it on.” and I was just standing there thinking to myself “not only are we not supposed to, we are not ACTUALLY letting this very lovely young woman down to the platform with a 70+ pound bag. Paula will (rightfully) lose her shit. We’re literally not doing it. Nope. Not on my watch.” I mean, technically carry-ons aren’t supposed to be over 50 pounds either, even if the customer is handling it themselves because inevitably there will come a point where Paula refuses to lift it they’ll need/want help from some employee somewhere either on board or in another station. Cue Paula’s (completely legitimate) injury/lawsuit spiel. Station agents aren’t actually responsible for weighing carry-ons (though I kind of think maybe we should be? I don’t want to create more work for myself, but I’d be willing to do it to keep the onboard bbs safe? also, I’m sure the company would make a lot more money selling boxes…so I honestly don’t really see why that’s NOT the current policy?) but if we KNOW a bag is over 70 pounds I don’t see how we could have let that slide. (Just imagining Paula’s reaction, even if we pretended we didn’t know the bag was that heavy, is stirring up my future ulcer. I’m naming it Tom btw. If there’s two I’m naming them Tom and Carl. Remember the cockroach I named Avery after my Ethical Theory professor? Yep. That’s a thing I do.) I thought I might have to fight Tom (that would have been a fucking disaster, but we were NOT sticking Paula with that monster bag) but our very congenial customer was very willing to buy a box and distribute the weight of her treasures. So, crisis averted. 

Tom was teasing me earlier, as he has been from my very first day here, about how I need to start behaving like this friend of his that takes a selfie with the service every single night and posts it on Facebook. He posts pictures of himself with other company things as well, including co-workers. I think it’s great (a little odd, perhaps, but great nonetheless) that this guy loves the job that much…but that’s not me. The hilarious part tonight, though, was Tom being all “I can see you taking pictures with Paula!” lmfao. At least we’re all on the same page about my appreciation of Paula. Speaking of…(kind of…)

I called Diana today about ordering uniforms. I was dreading it and had put it off as long as possible given what I’d heard about her being hard to get along with/liking to call people and scream at them, etc. (Never mind what I should have learned from the generally misguided briefing I was given re: Paula on day one.) She couldn’t have been any nicer. She answered all of my questions, gave me some really valuable information on how the sizing runs (the kind you could really only get from another woman) and told me I could call her anytime if I needed help with anything. God Bless. I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter how trusted the source; I’m no longer giving any weight to a male employee’s opinion of a female colleague. I’ll make my own assessment, thanks. I can only imagine what they’re saying/will be saying about me. If it’s something along the lines of “plays nicest with women, 300% done with stressing out over disappointing men” it would be fairly accurate. I kind of find men psychologically exhausting? And that’s something I didn’t realize until I was faced with an artificial shortage of women for counterbalance. It’s made each act of female to female kindness that much more meaningful. Paula’s asking if Tom had been treating me right, Diana saying I could call her for help with anything; these are literally the most important things that have happened in the past 3 weeks. Basically, it’s just really, really nice to have a few good things I’ll never forget amongst the grudges I’m already, unfortunately, beginning to hold onto; “I’m the only one here doing anything.” omfg.

Tom and I worked the baggage again tonight without Carl’s help. I’m not sure if he’s shunning us or it’s just one of those things. He seems to be hovering over Paula a bit more lately. I’m don’t know what’s up with that and I don’t really want to speculate. Tom and I managed our 18 bags + bicycle on and 13 bags off just fine on our own. I said something like “that wasn’t too bad” once we got it finished. We were both out of breath and sweating because it was so muggy out. Tom was just like “it wasn’t too good, either.” lmfao. I consider any worked/survived baggage to be “not that bad” and I guess Tom’s 30+ years on me showed tonight. I suggested that I should go play with the conductors see if anyone needed help boarding and Tom agreed that that was fine and said he was going to have a rest. Haha.

Paula had been on what seemed to be her best behavior last night, which was nice to see, in a way, because that was a true example of the kind of service I aim to provide - treating the customers well/by company standards without feeling the need to make shit up/do whatever one wants under the guise of satisfying people which is an example I’ve seen…elsewhere. I wasn’t sure, at the time, how much of that was Paula doing the job as the job should be done…and how much of it was the influence of Carl being right up in her face. There was a bit of that happening again tonight but then…then, once all of the passengers were boarded and Carl was off taking care of other duties, Paula said…well, I’m not going to post what she said on the internet. I keep imagining someone that shouldn’t finding this blog. I anticipate my cease and desist order every day, despite the fact that I’ve done my best not to mention the company by name/identify any customers/mention co-workers by anything more than a first name. I’m paranoid. No one is surprised. What Paula said could easily be misconstrued out of context and I want no part of getting her into any kind of trouble. Suffice it to say, that her comment was of the classic design that I have come to expect/look forward to from her. I was very much entertained and not at all disappointed. 

Post-service, we found ourselves once again with a customer asking for a bag we didn’t have. Tom called Carl and Carl once again found the bag still on the service (this time, at the bottom of the pile of Chicago bags, apparently. I’d suggest Carl get his shit together, as this is the second time in almost as many services, but it’s entirely possible that said bag was miss-sorted at the origin before he even got on the service, so…). Then Tom started handing out money again…which I’m still really uncomfortable about. I NEED to find out what the actual policy is on this and not just whatever Tom feels like - I mean, he gave this woman $50 whereas he gave the woman the other night twice as much. Even if he should be compensating with cash, it still seems very random. One of the people that had come to pick the customer up even made a joke about how he needed some cash so he was going to get on a service and have us lose his bag. Even in attempting to provide good service we came out looking like idiots. *sigh*

And, AND, at some point during all of this, while I was talking to the customer/her friends as we waited for Tom to finish filling out the paperwork/getting her the money he was going to give her Paula called to tell Tom he allowed a customer to get on the service without paying for their ticket. Part of me wishes I had fielded that call…and part of me is really, really glad I didn’t. After our lady with the “missing” bag had finally left (and I was in no real hurry to see her go as I’d been on overtime since 1/2 an hour before the service arrived) and Tom showed me how he’d marked the customer off on the nightly printout despite there being no indicator that the customer had paid. This was actually a good lesson for me/something I needed to see, so I’m not completely on about giving Tom a hard time. Once again, shit happens. The notable part was, after he’d shown me the marker on the printout I asked him if it was Carl that had called to let him know about it - because it’s always Carl that calls us…I wasn’t aware Paula even had our number?…and he goes “no, it was the other one…uh…” lmfao, Tom. Paula, her name is Paula. How long have the 2 of you been working this same service together? We seem to have a chronic co-worker recognition problem going on in Cincy lately, omg. ...but I think Tom has, generally, about as much time for female co-workers as I do for male ones? Oops?

ATTN: Carl
Do you see these Richmond transfer tags? We had Florida bags tonight and I remembered them all on my own because Tom is useless I may fail you practically every night but never in the same way twice. I’m learning. I will do better. Even if it kills us all.
I even made Tom order more of these tags tonight. Never again will he fucking shame me in front of Carl for not doing this thing he never told me I was supposed to do in the first place. If Carl wants a transfer tag I’ll see to it that Carl gets his fucking transfer tag. Every fucking time. Thanks for all your help, Tom.

ATTN: Carl

Do you see these Richmond transfer tags? We had Florida bags tonight and I remembered them all on my own because Tom is useless I may fail you practically every night but never in the same way twice. I’m learning. I will do better. Even if it kills us all.

I even made Tom order more of these tags tonight. Never again will he fucking shame me in front of Carl for not doing this thing he never told me I was supposed to do in the first place. If Carl wants a transfer tag I’ll see to it that Carl gets his fucking transfer tag. Every fucking time. Thanks for all your help, Tom.

I’m about to be unreasonable. Even more so than normal. You have been warned.
Do you see this fucking baggage cart? I loaded this entire thing by myself while Tom played Chicago tourist guide with one of the customers. That’s one of the ONLY other things I’m qualified to do, but by all means you have fun while I drop a 60 pound bag on my foot and inevitability give myself another black toenail. He came back here after the fact and complimented my stacking method. Thanks. GTFO. I attempted to keep myself in good spirits by imagining Paula’s little company lawsuit spiel while attaching bright yellow “HEAVY” tags to anything close to 50 pounds. We can’t have our on-board bbs getting hurt. That would be a lawsuit for the company. …and as it would happen to turn out…hearing Paula give that little speech for at least the third time as she once again made a customer help her with/handle their own over-weight carry-on bag (GOOD FOR YOU, BB!) as I hurried past to attempt to appease Carl after failing him greatly ended up being the highlight of my night and the only thing during service that made me want to smile…even after I was all but in tears. …but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
I got off work at 5am. I ate what I could find, like I always do, because I’m always hungry after work regardless of the random ass hours and I never seem to be able to come up with anything of legitimate nutritional value. Then I got, like, 3 hours of sleep. At the most. Then I got up for moving day part 4 of it’ll never be over. We unloaded the truck and then came down to the station so I could practice driving the tractor. That was an experience. I’m pretty much over that already. I’ll get some more practice and I’ll do what I have to when I have to but I really don’t fucking want to talk about it anymore. Give it a rest just for, like, one fucking day. I’m working on it. Then I went home, ate pasta and got about 2 1/2 hours of sleep. That adds up to…not enough.
Back at work at 11pm. Security actually let me in tonight so at least there was that. I was here before Tom who rushed in with a slurpee in hand at the very last minute. Really? I managed to cut my thumb somehow and needed a bandaid before we even did anything. It was just going to be that kind of night…which pissed me off because it was Westbound night AND running on time and I just wanted to be happy about one thing, goddamit, but no. Tom and Carl were on the phone with each other like school girls tonight…though that doesn’t really differentiate it from any other night in any way. To be fair, I generally (and genuinely) appreciate Carl’s availability and the access we have to him before the service arrives as it’s very helpful to us in an unimaginable number of ways…but tonight it just grated on me. Notably, at one point Tom found himself explaining a ticketing process to Carl because even fucking Carl doesn’t know everything…but we’re working up to my irritation with Carl.
We were in the back hallway trying to get everyone down to the platform at service time and this fucking idiot gentleman comes up to me and is like I have a reservation number. Uh, it’s a little fucking late for that, now, dude! I don’t know what the fuck you’re telling me for, either. I mean, yeah, I’ve got the company credentials, but that’s literally ALL that I have.They still haven’t managed to get me a log-in for the company computer. There’s really not shit I can do for you. If the computer has gone to sleep since the last time Tom was active on it, I can’t even get past the CNTRL/ALT/DELT screen. And Tom had picked that wonderful moment to decide that he’s going to go down to the platform in the elevator and leave me up here alone in my ineptness. THANKS. So, I yell at Tom and he says he’ll come back up. Meanwhile my gentleman is like “I’m going to need tickets” (obviously, asshole) “and my bag is out in the car” (WHY. WHY IS YOUR BAG OUT IN THE CAR? It’s not a short/quick walk AT ALL from the parking to the office/platform access here. Why would you leave your bag in the fucking car - ever, but especially now? Can you read a fucking clock? Are you aware that Carl’s service is on time…for nearly the third night in a row and he’s probably sold a small portion of his soul to make this happen? I’m really fucking proud of him and his on-time percentage this week so can we fucking not?) “will the train be here for awhile?” (Well, it will NOW, asshole, because Tom would go on to placate you in all the worst/unnecessary ways and I’m completely useless to Carl without Tom…but again we’re jumping ahead…).
I finished getting the people down to the platform…during which time my gentleman wandered away. I ASSUMED that he’d gone into the ticket office to wait for Tom, but when Tom came back up he wasn’t there. Move along to Tom and I both down on the platform preparing to work (what COULD HAVE BEEN a fantastic service for me) and asshole shows up again this time to tell Tom to his face about his reservation number. Now, if Tom had done what he should have done he would have made this guy buy his ticket from Paula. I don’t fucking care that it costs more. It costs more because this kind of thing is an inconvenience to all of us and demonstrative of the customer’s inability to plan ahead/get their shit together. That’s exactly what was happening here. Poor planning on your part does not create an emergency on mine. I know we’re (Tom and I, especially) supposed to be in the customer service business here, but you don’t fuck up Carl’s on-time percentage and work over EVERYONE ELSE because this guy who supposedly uses our service all the time got lost on his way to the station. How does that work, exactly? Apparently he even told Tom some sort of sob story about someone in his family dying. Dude. I don’t fucking care. If anything that makes me less sympathetic…because, just stop. Shut up and be grateful you’re being placated because if I were here alone like Tom tells me every fucking day is a thing that’s going to be happening soon, you would have been dealing with Paula (lucky you…seriously, though) and you would have been glad to pay her 3 times the price for your ticket, or, alternatively, you could have stayed in Cincinnati and taken the next Westbound service. On Wednesday. As you may have picked up on by now; I don’t fucking care.
So, while Tom was up in the office wasting my life, I had no choice but to stand uselessly on the platform awaiting his return so we could work the baggage. Says Carl, as he’s becoming aware of his on-time percentage being endangered: “So, you’ve never worked the baggage before at all? Can you at least bring it down here?” No, Carl. No, I can’t. The “bringing it down here” part is specifically what I cannot do. Even if I was willing to attempt to drive the tractor down a crowded platform before I had anything close to the practice to have any business doing so (and I’d have given it a try for Carl…whether or not I should have, if helping him out was at all a possibility, I’d have given it a try - that’s how much I don’t want our on-board friends to think of me as the inept inconvenience in Cincinnati). Tom had started the baggage process tonight and he drives the tractor with a clutch…which…nope. Sorry, Carl (really, truly, I am), but that other tractor was purchased for Cincy specifically for people like myself and others that work here from time to time that just won’t touch the yellow monster. If that was the tractor the carts were hooked up to, maybe, MAYBE we’d have had something going (and I’ve never driven ANY tractor with more than one cart…) but not with the monster. Nope.
Do you see that lovely stacking, Carl? That’s what I can do with baggage. That, drop it on my own toes, and affix “HEAVY” tags to keep Paula from hurting herself suing the company (the union from suing the company on Paula’s behalf? Can the union sue the company? I’m actually not sure how any of that works, probably depends on who can prove negligence. If I ever had the time [and I obviously never will] I’d ask Paula about the details because clearly SHE knows a thing or two about that process). So, I was completely useless as far as Carl was concerned and he was clearly (as well as understandably/legitimately, etc.) displeased. (So was I, Carl, so was I.) And I nearly burst into tears. Because that’ll help. Talk about embarrassing. I managed (just barely) not to melt down, but this is demonstrative proof of how badly I need a fucking day off (and as long as Tom has his way one will be all I get). I don’t work long hours, but they ARE in the middle of the night and that DOES tend to fuck with a person’s head when they’re trying to adjust. I’m also still trying to get settled after the move. I’m not sleeping well, I’m not eating well…and I’m nearly sobbing on platforms when members of the on-board crew point out that despite how much I love them I can’t manage to do anything for them. I just need a day. Just one 24 hour period where I don’t have to come here or think about this place at all. The only time I ever seem to be allowed to have this is on the one day of the week the service doesn’t run. Praise the deity of your choice that that day happens to be tomorrow.
The cherry on top of this during-service drama was that upon Tom’s return to the platform he was telling asshole the customer that “it’s basically just me here doing everything.” Thanks, Tom. Thanks. I mean, I know there are a vast amount of things (beyond delivering baggage for Carl) that I cannot do yet (and many of them are because the company is dragging its feet in getting me approved…) but we’ve just really had a great fucking night, haven’t we? Do you have any idea how much happier I’d have been if I actually wasn’t here at all? You can keep your on-time Westbound service if it spares me Carl looking at me like that ever again. Yes, I failed to deliver (literally), but the indignant part of me maintains that I found myself in a situation, through no fault of my own, causing expectations to be placed upon me that I was (rightfully or not) unprepared for. It was never my intention, in any shape or form (willfully or through ineptitude) to make your service late, Carl. I promise. Oh, and Tom. Next time, when it’s “just you here, ” you can stack your own fucking baggage.
So, then we worked the baggage like we’ve been doing…and I apologized to Carl that I couldn’t do more to help him tonight…and he just smiled at me…which just made me almost want to cry again. Ugh. And then for some reason Paula thought I was Lana. Wishful thinking, I guess. From what I hear Lana is really good at the job. The service was leaving as I made my way down the platform to lock the door to the stairs/lock up the lift, etc.(one of the few things I’ve managed to be useful at: locking and unlocking locks) and Paula explained that she thought I was Lana because she only saw me from behind. Okay, Paula. That’s fine. Just go on home to Indy now and we’ll try again next service week because after everything else I’m a little excessively heartbroken over you forgetting me (though that might be a blessing)/wishing I was someone else. I’ve never even met Lana (and she’s probably a great girl), but she’s from Southbend (? I’m pretty sure) and I’ll fight her for Paula…and Carl…but mostly Paula. I have no problem with Lana going to the meetings or whatever I heard she was going to re: making changes to the service that was once my very favorite because that’s her service area. You do you, darlin’. Be good at the job. Take care of business. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to learn some things from you some day…but in the meantime, I live really close to Kentucky and Paula and Carl are my legitimate favorite form of entertainment in my everyday life and the best part of my job…so, no, you can’t have them, not even if they’d prefer to have you. Play with the members of your own service crew.
Post-service we had a girl looking for a bag that we didn’t have. You know whose fault it was that we didn’t have it? Carl’s. You know who Tom didn’t blame? Carl. And normally I’d have no problem with that. Shit happens. Everyone knows Carl is good at his job. He was throwing bags around the other night and was all “These Florida bags need to transfer in Richmond” even though someone (…yup) didn’t put the transfer tags on them because SHE didn’t know she was supposed to (and some other station agent was slacking on oversight?). (But she knows now…and she keeps telling herself that she’s learning and she won’t fail you again, Carl, but she keeps finding NEW ways to fail you!) Anyway. What DID Tom do? He gave the girl $100 because we “lost” her bag. Even though he called Carl and Carl found the bag on the service exactly where it was supposed to be until it was just missed for being put off here. Which happens. This isn’t about giving Carl a hard time.This is about giving Tom a hard time. Because I worked the EEV with Tom (how he legitimized giving the girl the money) and we put it into the computer REPEATEDLY (ya know how they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Yep.) so I know EXACTLY how that voucher read. Action: Gave $100 cash. Reason: Bag did not arrive. …not “Carl didn’t put the bag off the service” or even “bag failed to be put off service” (which both suggests that, at the very least, SOMEONE made an error AND that it had been located still on the service). “Bag did not arrive” sounds like a goddamn act of God. …and even that would be fine with me…because it’s Carl and I’ve got no aggressive need to call him out - ever. I just want him not to hate me. EXCEPT, every fucking time *I* do something wrong Tom makes damn sure anyone we need to talk to about correcting the issues knows full well who messed up. And it’s not like I expect him to cover for me or anything…but from my very first day here it’s been “Megg leaned on the button for the silent alarm, can you come reset it?” “Megg fucked up your fax, Carl!” and so many other examples. Like, I’m sure, if he could find a way, Tom would blame the literal burning bridge we had a few weeks ago on me. …and I’m many things, but not a fucking pyromaniac.
…and now that I’ve written this out I’m a lot less angry and upset? Which I guess is justification for writing it in the first place? Also, I just checked our service’s arrival into Indianapolis and:

Left here 2 minutes late (and, all things considered, that’s actually not that bad)…and arrived in Indy 25 minutes early! That’s the way to arrive home, Carl! Good for you.

I’m about to be unreasonable. Even more so than normal. You have been warned.

Do you see this fucking baggage cart? I loaded this entire thing by myself while Tom played Chicago tourist guide with one of the customers. That’s one of the ONLY other things I’m qualified to do, but by all means you have fun while I drop a 60 pound bag on my foot and inevitability give myself another black toenail. He came back here after the fact and complimented my stacking method. Thanks. GTFO. I attempted to keep myself in good spirits by imagining Paula’s little company lawsuit spiel while attaching bright yellow “HEAVY” tags to anything close to 50 pounds. We can’t have our on-board bbs getting hurt. That would be a lawsuit for the company. …and as it would happen to turn out…hearing Paula give that little speech for at least the third time as she once again made a customer help her with/handle their own over-weight carry-on bag (GOOD FOR YOU, BB!) as I hurried past to attempt to appease Carl after failing him greatly ended up being the highlight of my night and the only thing during service that made me want to smile…even after I was all but in tears. …but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

I got off work at 5am. I ate what I could find, like I always do, because I’m always hungry after work regardless of the random ass hours and I never seem to be able to come up with anything of legitimate nutritional value. Then I got, like, 3 hours of sleep. At the most. Then I got up for moving day part 4 of it’ll never be over. We unloaded the truck and then came down to the station so I could practice driving the tractor. That was an experience. I’m pretty much over that already. I’ll get some more practice and I’ll do what I have to when I have to but I really don’t fucking want to talk about it anymore. Give it a rest just for, like, one fucking day. I’m working on it. Then I went home, ate pasta and got about 2 1/2 hours of sleep. That adds up to…not enough.

Back at work at 11pm. Security actually let me in tonight so at least there was that. I was here before Tom who rushed in with a slurpee in hand at the very last minute. Really? I managed to cut my thumb somehow and needed a bandaid before we even did anything. It was just going to be that kind of night…which pissed me off because it was Westbound night AND running on time and I just wanted to be happy about one thing, goddamit, but no. Tom and Carl were on the phone with each other like school girls tonight…though that doesn’t really differentiate it from any other night in any way. To be fair, I generally (and genuinely) appreciate Carl’s availability and the access we have to him before the service arrives as it’s very helpful to us in an unimaginable number of ways…but tonight it just grated on me. Notably, at one point Tom found himself explaining a ticketing process to Carl because even fucking Carl doesn’t know everything…but we’re working up to my irritation with Carl.

We were in the back hallway trying to get everyone down to the platform at service time and this fucking idiot gentleman comes up to me and is like I have a reservation number. Uh, it’s a little fucking late for that, now, dude! I don’t know what the fuck you’re telling me for, either. I mean, yeah, I’ve got the company credentials, but that’s literally ALL that I have.They still haven’t managed to get me a log-in for the company computer. There’s really not shit I can do for you. If the computer has gone to sleep since the last time Tom was active on it, I can’t even get past the CNTRL/ALT/DELT screen. And Tom had picked that wonderful moment to decide that he’s going to go down to the platform in the elevator and leave me up here alone in my ineptness. THANKS. So, I yell at Tom and he says he’ll come back up. Meanwhile my gentleman is like “I’m going to need tickets” (obviously, asshole) “and my bag is out in the car” (WHY. WHY IS YOUR BAG OUT IN THE CAR? It’s not a short/quick walk AT ALL from the parking to the office/platform access here. Why would you leave your bag in the fucking car - ever, but especially now? Can you read a fucking clock? Are you aware that Carl’s service is on time…for nearly the third night in a row and he’s probably sold a small portion of his soul to make this happen? I’m really fucking proud of him and his on-time percentage this week so can we fucking not?) “will the train be here for awhile?” (Well, it will NOW, asshole, because Tom would go on to placate you in all the worst/unnecessary ways and I’m completely useless to Carl without Tom…but again we’re jumping ahead…).

I finished getting the people down to the platform…during which time my gentleman wandered away. I ASSUMED that he’d gone into the ticket office to wait for Tom, but when Tom came back up he wasn’t there. Move along to Tom and I both down on the platform preparing to work (what COULD HAVE BEEN a fantastic service for me) and asshole shows up again this time to tell Tom to his face about his reservation number. Now, if Tom had done what he should have done he would have made this guy buy his ticket from Paula. I don’t fucking care that it costs more. It costs more because this kind of thing is an inconvenience to all of us and demonstrative of the customer’s inability to plan ahead/get their shit together. That’s exactly what was happening here. Poor planning on your part does not create an emergency on mine. I know we’re (Tom and I, especially) supposed to be in the customer service business here, but you don’t fuck up Carl’s on-time percentage and work over EVERYONE ELSE because this guy who supposedly uses our service all the time got lost on his way to the station. How does that work, exactly? Apparently he even told Tom some sort of sob story about someone in his family dying. Dude. I don’t fucking care. If anything that makes me less sympathetic…because, just stop. Shut up and be grateful you’re being placated because if I were here alone like Tom tells me every fucking day is a thing that’s going to be happening soon, you would have been dealing with Paula (lucky you…seriously, though) and you would have been glad to pay her 3 times the price for your ticket, or, alternatively, you could have stayed in Cincinnati and taken the next Westbound service. On Wednesday. As you may have picked up on by now; I don’t fucking care.

So, while Tom was up in the office wasting my life, I had no choice but to stand uselessly on the platform awaiting his return so we could work the baggage. Says Carl, as he’s becoming aware of his on-time percentage being endangered: “So, you’ve never worked the baggage before at all? Can you at least bring it down here?” No, Carl. No, I can’t. The “bringing it down here” part is specifically what I cannot do. Even if I was willing to attempt to drive the tractor down a crowded platform before I had anything close to the practice to have any business doing so (and I’d have given it a try for Carl…whether or not I should have, if helping him out was at all a possibility, I’d have given it a try - that’s how much I don’t want our on-board friends to think of me as the inept inconvenience in Cincinnati). Tom had started the baggage process tonight and he drives the tractor with a clutch…which…nope. Sorry, Carl (really, truly, I am), but that other tractor was purchased for Cincy specifically for people like myself and others that work here from time to time that just won’t touch the yellow monster. If that was the tractor the carts were hooked up to, maybe, MAYBE we’d have had something going (and I’ve never driven ANY tractor with more than one cart…) but not with the monster. Nope.

Do you see that lovely stacking, Carl? That’s what I can do with baggage. That, drop it on my own toes, and affix “HEAVY” tags to keep Paula from hurting herself suing the company (the union from suing the company on Paula’s behalf? Can the union sue the company? I’m actually not sure how any of that works, probably depends on who can prove negligence. If I ever had the time [and I obviously never will] I’d ask Paula about the details because clearly SHE knows a thing or two about that process). So, I was completely useless as far as Carl was concerned and he was clearly (as well as understandably/legitimately, etc.) displeased. (So was I, Carl, so was I.) And I nearly burst into tears. Because that’ll help. Talk about embarrassing. I managed (just barely) not to melt down, but this is demonstrative proof of how badly I need a fucking day off (and as long as Tom has his way one will be all I get). I don’t work long hours, but they ARE in the middle of the night and that DOES tend to fuck with a person’s head when they’re trying to adjust. I’m also still trying to get settled after the move. I’m not sleeping well, I’m not eating well…and I’m nearly sobbing on platforms when members of the on-board crew point out that despite how much I love them I can’t manage to do anything for them. I just need a day. Just one 24 hour period where I don’t have to come here or think about this place at all. The only time I ever seem to be allowed to have this is on the one day of the week the service doesn’t run. Praise the deity of your choice that that day happens to be tomorrow.

The cherry on top of this during-service drama was that upon Tom’s return to the platform he was telling asshole the customer that “it’s basically just me here doing everything.” Thanks, Tom. Thanks. I mean, I know there are a vast amount of things (beyond delivering baggage for Carl) that I cannot do yet (and many of them are because the company is dragging its feet in getting me approved…) but we’ve just really had a great fucking night, haven’t we? Do you have any idea how much happier I’d have been if I actually wasn’t here at all? You can keep your on-time Westbound service if it spares me Carl looking at me like that ever again. Yes, I failed to deliver (literally), but the indignant part of me maintains that I found myself in a situation, through no fault of my own, causing expectations to be placed upon me that I was (rightfully or not) unprepared for. It was never my intention, in any shape or form (willfully or through ineptitude) to make your service late, Carl. I promise. Oh, and Tom. Next time, when it’s “just you here, ” you can stack your own fucking baggage.

So, then we worked the baggage like we’ve been doing…and I apologized to Carl that I couldn’t do more to help him tonight…and he just smiled at me…which just made me almost want to cry again. Ugh. And then for some reason Paula thought I was Lana. Wishful thinking, I guess. From what I hear Lana is really good at the job. The service was leaving as I made my way down the platform to lock the door to the stairs/lock up the lift, etc.(one of the few things I’ve managed to be useful at: locking and unlocking locks) and Paula explained that she thought I was Lana because she only saw me from behind. Okay, Paula. That’s fine. Just go on home to Indy now and we’ll try again next service week because after everything else I’m a little excessively heartbroken over you forgetting me (though that might be a blessing)/wishing I was someone else. I’ve never even met Lana (and she’s probably a great girl), but she’s from Southbend (? I’m pretty sure) and I’ll fight her for Paula…and Carl…but mostly Paula. I have no problem with Lana going to the meetings or whatever I heard she was going to re: making changes to the service that was once my very favorite because that’s her service area. You do you, darlin’. Be good at the job. Take care of business. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to learn some things from you some day…but in the meantime, I live really close to Kentucky and Paula and Carl are my legitimate favorite form of entertainment in my everyday life and the best part of my job…so, no, you can’t have them, not even if they’d prefer to have you. Play with the members of your own service crew.

Post-service we had a girl looking for a bag that we didn’t have. You know whose fault it was that we didn’t have it? Carl’s. You know who Tom didn’t blame? Carl. And normally I’d have no problem with that. Shit happens. Everyone knows Carl is good at his job. He was throwing bags around the other night and was all “These Florida bags need to transfer in Richmond” even though someone (…yup) didn’t put the transfer tags on them because SHE didn’t know she was supposed to (and some other station agent was slacking on oversight?). (But she knows now…and she keeps telling herself that she’s learning and she won’t fail you again, Carl, but she keeps finding NEW ways to fail you!) Anyway. What DID Tom do? He gave the girl $100 because we “lost” her bag. Even though he called Carl and Carl found the bag on the service exactly where it was supposed to be until it was just missed for being put off here. Which happens. This isn’t about giving Carl a hard time.This is about giving Tom a hard time. Because I worked the EEV with Tom (how he legitimized giving the girl the money) and we put it into the computer REPEATEDLY (ya know how they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Yep.) so I know EXACTLY how that voucher read. Action: Gave $100 cash. Reason: Bag did not arrive. …not “Carl didn’t put the bag off the service” or even “bag failed to be put off service” (which both suggests that, at the very least, SOMEONE made an error AND that it had been located still on the service). “Bag did not arrive” sounds like a goddamn act of God. …and even that would be fine with me…because it’s Carl and I’ve got no aggressive need to call him out - ever. I just want him not to hate me. EXCEPT, every fucking time *I* do something wrong Tom makes damn sure anyone we need to talk to about correcting the issues knows full well who messed up. And it’s not like I expect him to cover for me or anything…but from my very first day here it’s been “Megg leaned on the button for the silent alarm, can you come reset it?” “Megg fucked up your fax, Carl!” and so many other examples. Like, I’m sure, if he could find a way, Tom would blame the literal burning bridge we had a few weeks ago on me. …and I’m many things, but not a fucking pyromaniac.

…and now that I’ve written this out I’m a lot less angry and upset? Which I guess is justification for writing it in the first place? Also, I just checked our service’s arrival into Indianapolis and:

Left here 2 minutes late (and, all things considered, that’s actually not that bad)…and arrived in Indy 25 minutes early! That’s the way to arrive home, Carl! Good for you.

posted 1 month ago with 2 notes

Also, this blog has become (temporarily?) a little bit a note taking adventure for the novel I may or may not write about the company.

People have been threatening to do it for over 40 years. I’ve been told repeatedly that I should be the one to actually make it happen. (Everyone else is probably just afraid of getting sued? I can be an idiot, but I’m not entirely stupid!)

Oh the stories I could tell, though. Especially if I include the ones I’ve collected from others over the years. Like the one legged woman that wouldn’t stop smoking and got herself put off the service at an unscheduled stop without her wheelchair so she couldn’t get away before the police arrived. Also, the terrible employee someone dared to ask for assistance prompting her to throw a suitcase which more or less exploded and led to a woman screaming about her daughter’s panties being all over the floor. You can’t make this shit up. …and those are the stories I’ve heard just in the last few weeks.

posted 1 month ago with 1 note

CRAZY Westbound service tonight. Unsurprisingly, the problems were almost entirely on our end.

I talked to Carl on the phone 3 times before the service arrived. I cut him off once when I tried to put him on hold for Tom. (My life is a fucking comedy, Carl. I apologize for the fact that you’re being forced to tune in against your will.) We had a group going out tonight and were trying to work out the logistics. Also, Carl asked if the elevator was working. I told him that we were ‘cautiously optimistic’ because we’d checked and it was working so we allowed ourselves a small amount of hope.

At one point there was a knock on our backdoor which I answered to find a man I’d never seen before…wearing company credentials…so I let him in. As it turned out, Tom knew the guy and they’d talked earlier about how he would be coming in/leaving his car in our lot for a few days, etc. and whatnot. It was about 20 minutes before the service was due (nearly on time, too!) so the three of us settled in for a chat. Well, Tom and Mike (? I think that was his name, but there’s also the very real possibility that I completely made that up. You never know.) chatted and I fielded intermittent phone calls from Carl and relayed messages to Tom. Says Mike, after Carl called back to change something he’d previously told me:  “It’s like, gee, thanks for the suggestion, Carl. Right?” …and I immediately found myself on the defensive, like, dude…who are you to judge Carl? The man puts up with me on a near daily basis, let’s be kind to him. So I said something like, “Oh, I like Carl. He’s a good guy.” and Tom chimes in: “Yeah, he is. Paula’s great, too. By the way, Megg, Mike is Carl and Paula’s boss.” Really, Tom. REALLY? A little heads up on that one might have been nice, don’t ya think? Clearly you didn’t? At all? But I was rather proud of myself for actually NOT fucking that one up even without all of the needed information. I totally would have thrown a compliment of my own Paula’s way as well if I’d KNOWN the guy was their boss. Christ. Just managing not to unintentionally make either of them look bad was an achievement, though.

I didn’t get to play with Paula at all tonight. I didn’t even see her. (I assume she was around somewhere because she went out on that Eastbound service we don’t want to talk about last night and if she lives in Indy and wanted to get home…) We had two women in wheelchairs. Tom went down in the elevator with the first one…and that was the elevator’s last trip of the evening (before they came to work on it [again] anyway). So, after I realized it wasn’t coming back and that characteristic dinging of refusal to comply began to play out, down the ramp we went. And shit just continued to be caotic from that point on until the service finally departed, 14 minutes after its arrival - 4 minutes longer than it’s ever supposed to stay and 7 minutes longer than it was scheduled to stay according to the app’s suggested method for making up time when behind schedule. At one point Carl gifted me a crazy lady in a wheelchair (an unfair exchange, I think, for the sane/very nice one I’d had before/assisted down the ramp and sent off towards who I can only assume was Paula, but I never made it down that far until after they’d finished up). Crazy lady had long, stringy hair and kept her head bent down. She had an accessory crazy guy who was unable to manage one bag without a luggage cart (a cart I’d gone back up the stairs and down the ramp to get for someone else who then magically had one when I returned, WTF?)…and just…they were just odd…and I think maybe I’ve got PMS because my tolerance is waning. It was Westbound night and I was nearly as disgruntled as I was last night and plan to be tomorrow. I got a heads up that the elevator was working again and gratefully, hurriedly put them on it hoping they’d never get back out. Crazy lady started screaming (to crazy guy) about how she needed her ticket for the airplane (?). I hit the concourse button, leaped out of the elevator and ran for my life.

Things weren’t all that much better when I finally arrived to help Tom with the baggage (which is really what I should have been doing all along). Carl, having finished up handing off crazy couples and all of his other duties came along as well. We were clearly falling behind and I just don’t have the strength/experience to be as efficient with the baggage as Tom and Carl are at this point so I pretty much got pushed out of the way even as I was trying to help. I totally understand, but I was still a little offended. Like I said, the tolerance was not high tonight. But Carl is quite the conversationalist, even as he’s throwing 50 pound bags over my head so it’s difficult to remain annoyed (even when it wasn’t him I was overwhelmingly annoyed with in that moment). But, seemingly out of the blue, he comes out with something very close to an “I’m not racist, but…” statement and I literally held my breath as I expected my entire appreciation of him as a person might be about to be turned upside down…but then he made a comment about cultures which was very much on point and not nearly as much disrespectful or judgmental as it was an observation of differing norms that makes the customer service part of his job understandably more difficult. So, crisis averted. I hear your frustration, Carl, and it’s legitimate.

The crazy couple were still sitting outside (with the company wheelchair and luggage cart still in their possession) when I left tonight. I hope they didn’t end up giving Tom too much trouble, but Carl and I each took a turn with them, I guess his was inevitable, too.

thewicked-eternity